October 12, 2011
On Friday afternoon, September 30, Hampden-Sydney Fire Safety Supervisor Chuck Ironmonger and members of the Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department hosted the Second Annual Mock Student Room Burn. About one hundred students gathered in a beautiful fall day to watch the demonstration.
Under the careful supervision of the fire safety experts, two dorm rooms were set up. One dorm room was decorated the way students typically like to decorate their rooms when fire safety rules are not enforced. The second room was decorated according to the rules that are outlined in The Key, and which can also be found on Hampden-Sydney's fire safety website.
After carefully explaining that the two rooms were decorated identically, other than the fact that one followed the fire safety regulations and the other did not, a fire was started in a similarly located trashcan in each room. These trashcans were filled with printer paper and located nearby a couple of pizza boxes so that a blaze would be ignited.
After watching the room that did not follow the fire safety instructions (right) flame into a blazing inferno while the other fire petered out on its own, it became very apparent that the fire safety regulations work. Mr. Ironmonger encouraged onlookers to remember that the plexiglass coverings for wall posters serve to slow fires down rather than to stop them completely, but the safety the plexiglass and other regulations proved his point that the fire regulations are there for the safety of the residents and are well worth the effort it takes to follow.